The Indiana Pacers absolutely had to win Tuesday night. George Hill knew it as well as anyone. That was obviously the motivation for HiIl to play one of his best games in a while.
The Pacers entered Tuesday’s game with Cleveland Cavaliers coming off two embarrassing losses. Not only had the Pacers lost the games, but they played extremely poor. This had been an Indiana team with solid momentum going into the playoffs. It appears they were ready to challenge the Miami Heat and anyone else for the NBA title.
They still might, but those two losses cast major doubt on those prospects. Had they lost to Cleveland Tuesday, it would have been time to panic.
But George Hill came through in the Pacers’ 99-94 victory. Hill had not played very well in those two disappointing losses. But he decided a third-straight dismal performance on his part wouldn’t help the team.
For 38 minutes, Hill was like himself, shooting 9-of-15 from the floor or 60 percent.That was a major boost from his two previous games of 8-of-24 combined, for 33 percent. He was also 8-of-9 in free-throw shooting, which has been a major Hill strength all season. He also had four assists, four steals and one block.
Hill has had a strong season at 14.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. Both figures are higher than his career averages.
He especially came to life against Cleveland. It was a good performance at a perfect time. The Pacers are likely to need many more such efforts from Hill before the season ends.